ROTH HOME SUSTAINS MAJOR DAMAGE AFTER FIRE
JEREMY WALTNER – PUBLISHER
Cody Roth was with other members of his family preparing for the Angus Roth Ranch 25th Anniversary Bull Sale scheduled for this Friday, March 24 and then moved on to chores when he received a call from his wife, Haley, who had just returned to their rural home north of Wolf Creek Colony. It was just after 6 p.m. Saturday, and their house was on fire.
Cody, his cousin, Caleb Oolman, and his dad, Craig, hightailed it back to the home and found the place filled with smoke. After a call was placed to the Freeman Volunteer Fire Department by his mom, Heidi, instincts kicked in. Cody says his cousin and dad worked to get the nearby garden hose in order while he went into the house to grab the fire extinguisher.
“I knew right where it was, but the smoke was so thick I couldn’t see anything,” said Cody, who had pinpointed that the fire was in the kitchen. “But I knew I had it right in the doorway; I’d like to stress this point: know exactly where your fire extinguisher is.”
Cody eventually found it and used it as the initial battle against the fire. Meanwhile, the hose had been assembled and was ready for use, so the three men took turns going into the smoke-filled house to extinguish the fire — which they did by the time the fire department arrived.
“We took turns,” says Cody. “I knew the layout so I went straight through. We broke apart the ceiling to stop the fire from spreading, and the cabinets were falling from the heat so we had to tear those apart to get the flames.”
The effort was successful.
“Once we got on scene we determined it was under control,” said Freeman Fire Chief Josh Andersen, who notes the biggest challenge was getting trucks and equipment onto the scene via a narrow, hilly driveway. “Not having a lot of room, we couldn’t get everything up there (all at once), which made it more difficult.”
Andersen says his team initially worked to secure the structure and then clear the smoke using ventilation.
“The guys all did a great job of knowing what to do and using their training,” said the chief, who was one of more than a dozen firefighters responding. “Everybody knew their position.”
Andersen speculates the cause of the fire was electrical and came from behind the dishwasher, “but obviously their insurance will have somebody come out and make a decision.”
Cody said early this week he was not sure the extent of the damage, but the house is “in rough shape. The fire might have just stayed in the kitchen, but there’s nothing that did not get touched by smoke.”
Cody believes that the training he and his cousin received in the National Guard helped in fighting the fire when their instincts kicked in and he knows it could have been worse. “I can replace the house and the household goods, but I can’t replace family members. I’m glad no one was in the house at the time.”
And he was reminded of the value of the local fire department. “I can’t say enough about those guys,” he said. “They’re right there when you need them.”
As for the larger community, “the outreach we’ve got is awesome. The farming community has been great. We feel very loved.”